Secret Stairs : A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles

Secret Stairs : A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles
Charles Fleming
April 2010

Tour the Hidden Staircases of Los Angeles!
Containing walks and detailed maps from throughout the city, Secret Stairs highlights the charms and quirks of a unique feature of the Los Angeles landscape, and chronicles the geographical, architectural, and historical aspects of the city’s staircases, as well as of the neighborhoods in which the steps are located.

From strolling through the classic La Loma neighborhood in Pasadena to walking the Sunset Junction Loop in Silver Lake, to taking the Beachwood Canyon hike through “Hollywoodland” to enjoying the magnificent ocean views from the Castellammare district in Pacific Palisades, Secret Stairs takes you on a tour of the staircases all across the City of Angels.

The circular walks, rated for duration and difficulty, deliver tales of historic homes and their fascinating inhabitants, bits of unusual local trivia, and stories of the neighborhoods surrounding the stairs: That’s where William Faulkner was living when he wrote the screenplay for To Have and Have Not. That house was designed by Neutra. Over there is a Schindler. That’s where Woody Guthrie lived, where Anais Nin died, and where Thelma Todd was murdered. . . .

Despite the fact that one of these staircases starred in an Oscar-winning short film—Laurel and Hardy’s The Music Box, from 1932—these civic treasures have been virtually unknown to most of the city’s residents and visitors. Now, Secret Stairs puts these hidden stairways back on the map, while introducing urban hikers to exciting new “trails” all around the city of Los Angeles.

Click below to purchase this book:

Read Excerpt

secretstairs_01 secretstairs_02 secretstairs_03 secretstairs_04 secretstairs_05 secretstairs_07 secretstairs_08 secretstairs_09 secretstairs_10 secretstairs_11 secretstairs_12 secretstairs_13 secretstairs_14 secretstairs_15 secretstairs_16

Author Information

Charles Fleming

is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles, Secret Stairs East Bay: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Berkeley and Oakland, Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles, the national bestseller High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess, and co-author of the New York Times bestsellers My Lobotomy, Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper, and A Goomba’s Guide to Life. A former staff writer for Newsweek, Variety, and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, and a frequent contributor to Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Los Angeles, and LA Weekly, he is currently a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. Fleming lives in Los Angeles.


“There’s something magical about the stair walks. You leave the known city behind and visit a quiet place built for an entirely different kind of living. Bungalows, some of them 100 years old, sit amid towering oaks and wildflowers, no roads or cars in sight. Fleming can point out the house where Anais Nin died, the house where William Faulkner wrote To Have and Have Not, the cabin-hotel where Ernest Hemingway once hung his hat, the place where Tom Mix’s saloon used to be and where his horse might be buried (in the vicinity of a Ralphs supermarket). Walking the stairs is like time travel, and you can picture schoolchildren, homemakers and bricklayers huffing up and down the flights on their way to school, to market and to work.”
—Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times